RM3 now before CA Supreme Court–Update 1

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court in August 2020.

The Petition asserts that prior to Proposition 26, a clear body of law differentiated between taxes and fees. Whereas the Proposition was enacted to close several loopholes, the Court of Appeal decision opened up a brand-new huge loophole that would allow any fee for access to public property to be imposed without a two-thirds vote. In addition, the Petition points out that a different division of the same Court of Appeal had issued a ruling (Zolly v. City of Oakland) that was opposite to the RM3 ruling, creating a conflict in law.

The Petition urges the Court to grant review of the case. The Court accepts a tiny percentage of cases that seek review, so it would be a big deal if the Court takes this case. Hopefully, the Court would then uphold the voters’ intent in Proposition 26 and rule that HJTA’s challenge to RM3 should not have been dismissed. After further proceedings, this could lead to RM3 being declared null and void, because it was not approved by either a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or of the voters. Most likely, the funds that have been collected since 2018 and held in escrow would then be returned to toll-payers through lower tolls.

In Mid-October 2020, the Supreme Court granted review of the case. Contrary to the wishes of MTC, the Court will address the Zolly case before ruling on RM3. It is expected that it could at least a year before a decision is issued.

For further background, see here and here.

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